August 26, 2008

Fallback Position Redux

My last post, on the Trinity Cathedral resolution (see “Fallback Position”), brought in an unusual amount of mail.

Some of that mail addressed the particular details of the plan to share Pittsburgh’s cathedral with rival dioceses resulting from “realignment.” I appreciated this mail if only because I had not analyzed in depth the many details of the Trinity resolution before I wrote my essay.

More unexpected were a number of messages from members of the Cathedral Chapter. These were not aimed at chiding me for what I wrote but were, I think, seeking a fair hearing for the Trinity proposal. I don’t know what sort of feedback Chapter members may have received, but, given the polarization in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, it would not surprise me if they were criticized from both right and left.

Whatever my personal opinions on the wisdom, charity, or practicality of the Trinity Cathedral proposal, I am convinced that the Chapter is totally sincere in putting forward what it has. Moreover, whether or not the Chapter has found the “right” path for Trinity Cathedral, its members have to be admired for trying, to the best of their ability, to protect their church home. Other parishes with divided congregations seem to be accepting Bishop Duncan’s reassurances that all will be well after the realignment vote at face value and are taking no special action to achieve the best possible outcome for their churches in the aftermath of a split.

I suggested to one of my correspondents, Ed Murry, a member of the Chapter elected by members of Trinity, that I let him speak for himself in this forum, and he agreed to let me post his initial message to me:
Dear Dr. Deimel,

After reading the entries on your blog today, I would like to offer some insight and clarification relative to some important points regarding the resolution in question, and particularly the genesis of it. Let me first be clear that I am not speaking in my capacity as Senior Warden and Chair of the Executive Committee at Trinity, but as a congregant there, and as an observer of the process.

The concept for this agreement was formed in the winter of 2007 in discussions between members of our congregation and our clergy regarding ways to keep our Cathedral family intact during the difficult times ahead. From there, our Provost, Canon Cathy Brall, conceived the kernel of the idea that became the resolution that is now before us. Her ideas and this concept were first presented to our Congregation in a sermon and in our newsletter this past spring. The wording of the resolution was developed by various Chapter members and Cn. Brall. The two Chapter members who contributed the most to the actual drafting of the document, and to working out the innumerable details that it contains, are known to hold opposing views on the issues that are necessitating the resolution itself.

The document was vetted in full Chapter before being presented to Bishop Duncan—both as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and as Dean of our Cathedral, which is currently in Transitional status—about two weeks ago, and we received his endorsement, as you know, last week.

It must be understood that the purpose of the actions proposed by the resolution is a very simple one—to preserve the Church that is our Church, with it’s foundation in Christ. Past the unpleasantness that is pervading our Denomination is the desire to continue to function as a Church family, to preserve our traditions, our bonds, our outreach, and our spiritual home.

It is my hope that among the critiques, oratories, and pontifications regarding the actions that we propose, our true purpose will not be lost.

As additional information, the meeting that you note as being scheduled for September 14th is for the purpose of a vote on this resolution by our full Parish.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like any additional information or clarification, and to share the contents of this email as you may wish.

Ed Murry

I have nothing more to add except for a final comment on the parish meeting on September 14, a point clarified in later correspondence. There will be a vote on the resolution at that meeting, at which time the resolution will become a plan that the Chapter will try to follow, or it will simply become a rejected proposal.

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